Hatters Roll Past Louisiana College
The Stetson Hatters were finally able to open their 2019 season on Saturday night at Spec Martin Stadium, and did so in style with an offensive explosion to easily defeat visiting Louisiana College 58-13.
Stetson led from the outset and was up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and 31-7 by halftime.
The Hatters scored their first touchdown of the season on a four-yard run by sophomore running back Jareem Westcott with 9:34 left in the opening quarter. Later, Westcott found paydirt again, catching the first touchdown pass of his college playing career. The 17-yard pass from graduate quarterback Gaven DeFilippo made the score 14-0 with 2:50 on the clock.
A 26-yard field goal by redshirt junior Jonny Messina put the Hatters up 17-0 early in the second quarter, before the visiting Wildcats capitalized on the Hatters’ only turnover of the night. Louisiana recovered a fumbled punt at the Stetson 12 yard line, and scored on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Landon Lalonde to Zion Williams four plays later on third and 20 to break the shutout.
Stetson continued its offensive onslaught, scoring two more times before halftime. DeFilippo punched in a two-yard run to make the score 24-7. Then, with 1:37 to go, he found junior wide receiver Justin Jordan on a 39-yard pass to put Stetson up by 24 at the break.
The Hatters continued scoring in the third quarter with three more touchdowns to pull away. Westcott got his third touchdown of the game on a 10-yard run, before freshman running back Jalen Leary scored his first collegiate touchdown on a three-yard scamper. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Alex Piccirilli scored on a 65-yard run down the sideline to make the score 52-7.
Piccirilli scored again in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard run to round out the Hatters’ scoring. The Wildcats got their final points early in the fourth quarter on a 22-yard pass from Sal Palermo to Jarred Simpson to cap a 72-yard drive against a mostly freshman Stetson defense.
Stetson amassed 514 yards in total offense, including 311 yards on the ground, marking just the third time in the program’s modern era the Hatters hit that milestone. Stetson’s ground game was led by redshirt junior Chase Blackmon with 91 yards on 15 carries. Piccirilli ran for 88 yards on six carries to go along with his two touchdowns, while Westcott had 10 carries for 44 yards and two touchdowns.
DeFilippo completed 11-of-22 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns, while Piccirilli completed three-of-four passes for 24 yards. Senior wide receiver Steven Burdette caught five passes for 102 yards to lead the receiving corps.
On the defensive side, Stetson recorded three interceptions, including one each by Jamieson Craske, Peter Katz and Dwight Lawrence. The trio of Tyler Mirabella, Gerardo Rodriguez and Bryson Richards had five tackles each in the win.
Stetson will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 14, when the Hatters travel to Poughkeepsie, NY, to face Marist College for their 2019 Pioneer Football League opener with kickoff scheduled for noon.